Thursday, 31 March 2011

I quilled it through the grapevine!

I photographed the basket of grapes for the centre of this card during my recent visit to The Eden Project in Cornwall - it was part of a display in the Mediterranean Zone, and I loved the look of all the different colour grapes set against the texture of a shallow woven basket. Yesterday I finally got around to 'extracting' the basket from the photo in Photoshop so that I could use it in one of my 'shadow frames' as you see here.

I decided to quill some grapes - one bunch of green and one of red - to complement the shot ... quite fiddly to make, all those tiny tight coils! Anyway, I quite like the look of the splashes of colour against a white background. Oh yes, and I used a little leaf stamp to create the dark green vine leaves at the corners of the frame.

I've got another picture of a basket of lemons, too, which I hope to use in a similar way. So many pictures, so little time!!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Quilling with special effects

To make this flower, I used three special quilling effects: crimping, fold-rolling and metallic edged strips! I really like the fold-rolling technique (as described in detail in this earlier post), because it enables you to work with different colours and incorporate extra texture through the use of crimped strips joined to un-crimped ones. And, let's face it, flowers like this are MUCH easier to make than paper roses!  For this flower, I made up two composite strips comprising metallic-edged pink plus yellow (un-crimped) and deep pink plus orange (crimped), joined together and fold-rolled from the yellow/orange end, with the orange on the inside. I've found it best to start with a tiny fold and increase the length of the fold every six folds or so. before releasing and gluing.

I also love using crimped strips to make leaves, because they stay fairly tight after coiling and enable you to make interesting-looking, chunky marquises like the ones I've used here.

And, of course, I love metallic-edged strips (also used in the pink coil) just because they look so good!

I've added this flower to one of my 'nature montage' card backgrounds which always seem to be popular at our market:

Have a great day, and happy quilling!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A first for me: quilled birthday card in Welsh!

The Welsh language has always been a bit of a mystery to me. As an English speaker living in England, it's easy to overlook the other ancient languages - Gaelic and Welsh - which are still spoken in other parts of the United Kingdom. Welsh is the language of Wales, and it's very much alive throughout that beautiful country, as you soon realise when you go there and see that the road signs are all bilingual.

Anyway, I was a asked to quill a 'new baby' card with a difference last week. The proud parents of this particular new arrival (a girl called Mali) live in Wales, and so the greeting had to be in Welsh! Fortunately, my customer - her grandmother - knew the right words and gave me the spelling for the word 'Croeso' which means welcome, and 'i' which means 'to'. Welsh is well known for its very long words, and apparently the Welsh word for 'Congratulations' extends to 16 letters and is quite difficult to spell, so fortunately my friend decided she would write this inside the card herself!

I used the stork image from the Photoshop Elements clip art as my background graphic, adding a pink quilled balloon, some pink/burgundy filigree and a little red heart. Mali is still a bit too young to appreciate the quilling, but I hope her parents will like my card!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

More shadow play, with Photoshop!

I created the frame for the card in yesterday's post using Pages, part of the iWorks software suite for Apple Mac computers. Today, I tried creating something similar using Photoshop. I found that it's quite easy to create all kinds of geometric shapes with bevelled edges, and you can adjust the colour, opacity and shadowing to get the end result you want. I'm not sure how well you can see the light grey shadowing around this particular frame as it's quite subtle (and the photo of the card itself has turned out a little grey), but it certainly seems to create the desired illusion of depth. The only trouble is, I played around adjusting the image so much that I'm not sure exactly how I got there! Fortunately I have saved it, though!

Anyway, I thought this frame would make an attractive background for a Mothers' Day design, and this time I've added colour to the background in the form of a delicate pink oval. The pink flowers were made by 'fold-rolling' two pink strips together (one metallic-edged, one plain) and releasing them to create these Art Deco style blooms. Today's colours are deliberately more pastel than the ones I used yesterday, but I could not resist the dark red 'ribbon' and some open coils in my favourite lime green!

Following Ann's brilliant tip (see comments below) I've managed to reduce the greyness of the photo as you can see here:

The section around the pink oval still looks slightly whiter because it printed as solid white within the frame. I guess that shows that my white cards aren't as white as I thought they were!! Anyway, thanks for the very useful tip, Ann!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Shadow play

It's no secret that I love to use richly coloured backgrounds for my quilling. Lately, however, I've been reminded just how fabulous quilling can look when mounted on a plain white background - so I decided to try a new approach for this card.

I've used just a tiny bit of digital 'trickery' to create a frame for the design: a white oval inside a white rectangle which, of course, when printed on a white card are both invisible - except that I've added shadows to try and create the illusion of a recessed 3D effect. It makes me think of a cornice on an ornate ceiling, or piping on the brilliant white icing of a wedding cake: you can only actually see it because of the shadow, which itself creates the illusion of depth.

Anyway, I decided to use this as the background for a floral design quilled in the vibrant colours which I love so much. And I've realised that there are many more framing effects like this that I can create using Photoshop ... I wonder where this will lead me next?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Quilling for a knitting fan

I saw lots of sheep on my recent holiday in Cornwall, and took a few photos with card-making in mind. Of course, I always like to do some quilling to complement a photo, so I thought I'd have a go at creating some knitting needles and a little ball of wool.

For this project, I joined a whole white 3mm quilling strip to a shorter length of crimped white, and rolled this all up to create a loose circle coil.  I thought the crimped section would add a little texture to the end of the ball of wool, and deliberately left a bit of it hanging loose after gluing. Then I cut another section of 3mm white strip in half to make a 1.5mm width, and cut short sections of it to create the criss-cross effect that you get with a rolled-up ball of wool. The needles were made out of short pieces of silver strips (again, cut down to a 1.5mm width) with tiny points cut at one end, and little T-sections added to the other.

Here's the finished card, showing the photo I took of a co-operative sheep that posed very nicely for me under a tree:

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A quilled rhododendron

Last week we visited the fabulous gardens of Caerhays Castle in Cornwall which are only open for a few weeks at this time each year when the magnolia trees, azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom. It was an amazing experience, and I have tried to capture some of the magic on this card.

The first thing you see is a fairy-tale castle nestling on a hillside with dramatic views over the sea. Then you realise that the castle is literally surrounded by flowering trees and shrubs which provide fantastic splashes of colour - mainly reds and pinks, but whites and yellows too. It's a spectacular sight, especially so early in the year when most of the 'normal' trees are still completely bare of leaves.

You can see the castle in the main photo on this card, and I've included some inset photos on a 'pink theme' to give some idea what the gardens are like. For the quilling, I've tried to create a typical cluster of rhododendron flowers (almost impossible, really!) using deep burgundy centres and metallic-edged pink strips for the surrounding petals. The leaves are made from crimped green strips.

Here's the quilling in close-up:

And here's a photo of the real thing! Stunning!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A new Easter card with sheep and some quilling

Driving around in Cornwall last week, we had to stop and let a large flock of sheep pass by. They went along at a gallop, but I managed to get a photo of them through the car window - and I've cropped it to use on this card. Aren't their faces sweet?

Sheep and lambs always remind me of Spring, and I decided to use some bright, warm, sunshiny background colours to make this design into an Easter card.

First I quilled the daffodils (to complement the smaller picture), and then I added a little border motif in three colours to go under the flock of sheep.

The idea for this motif pattern actually came from studying the strap of my wrist watch. Take a closer look, and you'll see a repeating pattern comprising marquise, eye and curved triangle shapes. I wanted to see if this would translate into quilling, and I think it's worked OK. Maybe there's potential here for a longer border piece?

Monday, 14 March 2011

I'm back on a roll with a new quilled flower!

Well, I'm happy to report that my new 'quilling' tool works brilliantly! (Please see yesterday's post to read about the felting needle that I bought last week for rolling coils - it's great!) I made teardrop shapes in two different sizes to create the quilled flower on this card, using the narrow end section of the tool for the inner petals (small centres) and the middle section for the outer petals (slightly larger centres). They rolled up effortlessly, and I really like the sturdiness of the tool which is, of course, designed for stabbing fabric with - it's easy to grip and very strong. I can definitely recommend it!

I don't know the name of the flower on this card, but I photographed it in the Mediterranean zone of the Eden Project in Cornwall where I visited last week - it's full of exotic plants, and a real feast for the eyes. I took loads of new pictures while I was away, and now it feels great to be back quilling once again!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

I'm back ... with a new quilling tool!

After a week-long absence from the 'blogosphere', I'm back ... and eager to start quilling once again!

I've just returned from a wonderful break in a tiny fishing village called Port Isaac in the English county of Cornwall - an area which I always find full of inspiration. Here's the very first view we had of the village as we drove down a narrow farm track. You can imagine how excited I felt to be on holiday once again, especially when the sea was absolutely sparkling in such glorious spring sunshine! During our week away we visited some wonderful beaches, harbours and gardens, giving me plenty of new photographic inspiration for my quilled cards - and I hope to be posting lots of new designs here on Quilliance in the weeks ahead.

We arrived home yesterday and I've had to spend time catching up on jobs around the house, so there's been no time to quill just yet. But I wanted to show you a brilliant new tool which I found in a craft shop during my time in Cornwall, and I can't wait to start using it.

It's actually a 'felting needle tool' - but I'm going to use it for my quilling. Regular followers of Quilliance will know that I'm not a fan of slotted quilling tools - I really dislike the 'kink' that such tools produce in the centres of the coils. Lately I've been using the shaft of a very fine needle tool to wind my coils, trying not to roll them too tight so that I can slide them off over the unwanted slotted section at the end of the tool. But what I really wanted was a needle tool without a slot - and here it is! Look closely, and you'll see that the shaft of needle divides into three sections - thick, medium and very fine - so you can actually choose the part to wind around depending on how big you want the central hole in your coil to be. Brilliant!

Now, because this is a felting tool, there are some tiny barbs on the narrow tip of the needle which are designed to push fibres through to the back of the fabric when creating felt. I don't see this as a problem, however, as I'm sure I'll be able to smooth the barbs off using a diamond file, and they really are very tiny indeed. Anyway, next week I'm going to start quilling with this new tool - and of course I'll let you know how I get on!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Shine on!

I'm still experimenting with those metallic-edged quilling strips, and I've found they work particularly well when double-rolled with a contrasting crimped strip to add texture.

To make this heart, for example, I joined together two teardrop coils created from a purple-copper edged strip rolled with a crimped pale blue one. (The blue strip also has a metallic edge, but it's quite hard to see it!)

Then I tried this triple-rolled combination to make another heart: purple/copper, crimped pale blue in the middle and plain purple on the inside, all joined together at one end before rolling. I really like the final texture and the shine.

Experimentation is all very well, of course, but I never like to see the resulting motifs go to waste.  So I made up another heart and created this card. I think the hearts look quite good on a grey background - just the thing to brighten up an otherwise grey day!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Petals, swirls and curls

Here's a new quilled card design that I've just finished. The background graphic was a pretty digital 'freebie' downloaded from the  Papers and Pixels blog. I'm sure it was originally intended for use in scrapbooking - but, being me, I couldn't resist trying to echo the image in quilling to create a card!

The pink petals make use of my new metallic edged strips, and I've used beige and gold strips wound together to create the long quilled swirls.

Credit for the background image is due to Coppercurl Designs.


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